Sánchez leads and inspires future pastors
Serving others and leading future pastors is something Juan Sánchez excels at as an associate professor of theology in the School of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Sánchez has served as senior pastor at High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, since August 2005 and previously served as the president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. He received his Bachelor of Music in music education from the University of Florida, and a Master of Divinity, Master of Theology, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Sánchez was the first Latino pastor to deliver the convention sermon at a Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, which he did in 2022 in Anaheim.
Sánchez feels “privileged” to teach classes in both English and Spanish. He teaches systematic theology, preaching, and pastoral ministry, both in the School of Theology and in the Hispanic Programs.
“The Lord has given me a heart for training up the next generation of pastors and missionaries, which is why I invest in teaching in seminaries in the United States and Latin America,” he said. Sánchez has many “opportunities to teach in various seminary contexts,” yet he desires to “focus attention on raising up” the next generation of “pastors and missionaries in Texas.”
He enjoys teaching his classes for different reasons. He enjoys teaching preaching because “it is a joy to see students’ faces light up as they begin to see things in the biblical text that are right there, but they didn’t notice before.” He enjoys teaching systematic theology because he “loves equipping students with the tools to construct theology on their own.” Sánchez “loves teaching on the doctrine of the church because it is so neglected and has such a vital role in God’s eternal plan to exalt Christ as King and Lord over all things.”
Sánchez is committed to helping students live their calling by “seeking to equip them to read and interpret the Bible for themselves and to construct their theology from Scripture. In all my classes, I want to show the biblical foundations for what we believe and do.” Since Sánchez teaches remotely at Southwestern, his main connection with his students is through conversations on phone calls and Zoom meetings.
Through an internship program with his church, he brings pastoral assistants on staff to equip them for ministry. One of their newest pastoral assistants, Chris Parker, is a recent graduate of Southwestern with his Master of Divinity. Sánchez desires to create a pathway from Southwestern to their internship at High Pointe Baptist Church.
“I would love to see SWBTS students who aspire to pastoral ministry join us for a semester to read, talk, and learn about God’s plan for His church and observe how one church orders itself,” said Sánchez.
Andreas Burau, from Padderborn, Germany, is a Ph.D. student in the Terry School of Educational Ministries and is majoring in biblical counseling with aspirations of being a pastor after graduation.
“Dr. Sánchez is dedicated to raising the next generation of scholars devoted to the truthfulness of Scripture and academic expertise,” said Burau. “His vision is to present the church with faithful ministers who demonstrate a loving and caring attitude and prioritize the Kingdom of God.”
Burau explains that his “welcoming character” makes Sánchez approachable and “one of his outstanding qualities is his discernment and consideration of the student’s personal academic development.” Sánchez does not “indoctrinate his personal views,” but instead “leaves room for his students to grow according to their own pace in doctrinal maturity and critical thinking,” said Burau.
Logan McKenzie, from Fort Payne, Alabama, is pursuing his Master of Divinity with a concentration in leadership. He currently serves at a church in Rainsville, Alabama, and hopes to be a lead pastor at a church after graduation.
McKenzie took introduction to expository preaching from Sánchez and benefitted from that class experience with him. McKenzie sees the investment Sánchez made in him, despite only seeing him for four days due to him living in Alabama and it being a winter term course.
“Dr. Sánchez not only taught and showed me how to be a better communicator of God’s Word, but he also poured into me as a man, husband, and leader of a church. The investment he made in me in those four days were investments that will stick with me for a lifetime,” said McKenzie. “He taught the fundamentals of being a pastor and leader of a church, as well as how to lead a church staff, elder and deacon board, and gave me practical advice and wisdom on how to lead well.”
McKenzie sees how Sánchez is committed to helping him live out his calling as a pastor and leader “not only through his academic challenges in the classroom, but also through his time both before and after class.” Sánchez “answered every question I had with patience, practicality, incredible wisdom, and care. His class not only committed to making me a better communicator of the Gospel, but also in how I live out my personal faith in Christ,” said McKenzie.
Alejandro Molero, from Barcelona, Venezuela, is a Doctor of Ministry in Spanish student and a pastor at Iglesia Biblica Sublime Gracia, a Spanish-speaking church in Washington D.C. He describes Sánchez as “a living example, faithful, passionate preacher in a local church, and leader in many networks with a servant’s heart.” Molero testifies to Sánchez being an “exemplary husband and father” while always being “willing to help” him in his ministry. Molero appreciates his “tenderness in teaching difficult issues,” which is balanced with “his elegant sense of humor. What I love the most about him is his faithfulness in showing us, from the Bible, his solid convictions about the Lord and His people.”
Sánchez’s writing ministry has flowed organically out of his pastoral ministry at High Pointe Baptist Church. Although he said the Lord has led the writing opportunities for him, he has also been compelled to write to provide “biblically rooted resources in Spanish,” which he said is a “great need in the Spanish-speaking world. I want to be a part of God’s resources in Latin America” and “make sure that what I write is of maximum help for the church,” noted Sánchez. Most of his books can be found on Amazon and he works with B&H Español and Poiema to ensure his books will reach Spanish-speaking people everywhere.
When Sánchez is not teaching or pastoring, he enjoys spending time outside with his wife Jeanine exploring God’s creation. In 2022, he hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim with his cousin
Sánchez’s favorite Bible verse, Acts 20:24, guides him in his ministry as a professor and preacher.
“The entire chapter reminds me of the weightiness of pastoral ministry, but verse 24 reminds me that it’s not about me, my life or my safety,” Sánchez concluded. “Pastoral ministry is about preaching Christ for as long as the Lord gives me before He calls me home. Once the Lord is done with me, I look forward to that call.”